Slovenia Extends Border Controls with Croatia and Hungary

Slovenia Extends Border Controls with Croatia and Hungary

Slovenia has once again extended border controls with Croatia and Hungary until December 21st, 2024.

This decision is due to increasing security concerns and issues in the European Union (EU).

Slovenia cites new security threats

Slovenia's Interior Minister, Boštjan Poklukar, cited new threats to public order and security as the main reason for extending border checks.

These threats come from the ongoing conflict in the Middle East and rising tensions between Iran and Israel.

The minister also mentioned security risks related to the war in Ukraine.

The UEFA Euro 2024 in Germany and the Olympic Games Paris 2024 were also seen as potential security risks. These high-profile events could attract unwanted attention and make border security more challenging.

Prioritizing border control extension

Addressing illegal migration is still a priority for Slovenian authorities. Extending border controls is meant to better manage and monitor people crossing the borders.

Minister Poklukar said that these controls will not harm travelers, the economy, or border communities. This plan aims to balance security and the free movement principles of the Schengen Area.

Slovenia plans joint border patrols

Slovenia has expressed readiness to launch joint border patrols with Croatian and Italian police.

Mixed patrols are being considered as an alternative to temporary internal Schengen border controls.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi shared insights from Italy’s border control efforts. 

Since October 2023, Italian police have checked over 422 people and 224,400 vehicles. They also intercepted 1,800 foreign citizens trying to cross the border illegally.

Ministers discuss joint border patrols

Ministers from Slovenia, Italy, and Croatia recently met to discuss alternative measures to border controls.

The goal is to eventually lift internal border controls while maintaining security.

One proposed alternative is joint police patrols on Schengen’s external borders.

Slovenia has expressed willingness to participate in such patrols, which could provide effective security without full border controls.

Border controls minimally disruptive

Croatian Interior Minister Davor Božinović mentioned that current border controls have not significantly affected daily activities for citizens of Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy.

This suggests that the measures have been implemented with minimal disruption.

While controls will remain in place through the summer, Slovenia’s Interior Minister aims to ensure that they are not extended beyond December 2024.

This indicates a desire to return to normal Schengen operations as soon as security conditions allow.

Navigating the new border landscape

Slovenia’s extended border controls may impact EU visitors and immigrants.

While the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will not launch until mid-2025, these measures preview heightened security. Travelers from visa-exempt countries should prepare for extra screening

Long-term visitors like students or digital nomads might face longer entry processes. However, the controls aim to minimize disruption to daily life and travel.

The road ahead for Schengen

Slovenia’s extension of border controls reflects the complex security landscape facing European nations.

As authorities work to balance safety concerns with free movement, collaborative efforts and alternative measures may pave the way for a return to open borders within the Schengen Area.